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tv   Early Today  NBC  December 23, 2014 4:00am-4:31am PST

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jude logo. good morning. coming up on "early today," shocking details about the number of police officers ambushed in the line of duty. tensions calm. days before christmas, pope francis blasts the vatican's top brass for lusting after power and what he calls the terrorism of gossip. plus, potential travel troubles ahead for americans hitting the road. it is tuesday, december 23rd. "early today" starts right now. good morning. i'm dara brown. here in new york city politics and rhetoric are being put on hold as the families of two slain police officers prepare to lay them to rest. for the first time since her
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husband's ambush style shooting saturday, this tearful message from the widow of wenjian liu. >> we would also like to express our condolence to the officer and the family. this is a difficult time for both of our families. but we will stand together and get through this together. thank you. >> we're also hearing from the sister of the gunman. >> he was emotionally troubled young man. and he was suicidal. if you have emotional issues and you're going -- constantly going in and out of jail, you know, prison, and clearly something's wrong, he should have been offered help in the system, right, but he wasn't. >> meanwhile, mayor bill de blasio is asking anti-police protesters to stop demonstrations until after the
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officers' funerals. and the major police union say they will hold off making more politically charged statements about saturday's shooting in brooklyn. brooklyn borough president eric adams tolles msnbc's chris hayes, the tension won't keep police officers from doing their jobs. >> i'm extremely optimistic because throughout my law enforcement career i have seen and witnessed moments like this, with extremely turbulent and we feel we won't get past it. the reality, we do. that's what's great. that's why new york city police department, they're called new york city's finest, they're going to answer the radio calls, they're going to respond regardless of the political atmosphere. >> nbc justice correspondent pete williams shows us how police departments across the country are trying to prevent copycat incidents. >> reporter: police in pittsburgh have been told to patrol in pairs, extra eyes to watch for threats. >> the families of officers throughout the city are upset, they're nervous, you know,
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they're fearful for the safety of their loved ones. >> reporter: much the same warning to double up in newark and in reading, pennsylvania. washington, d.c. police got this message, to stay vigilant and be constantly aware of their surroundings, on patrol, stationary in a car, even off duty. a similar message for police in boston. in northern virginia today, police academy graduates about to walk a beat said the new york shootings are on their minds. >> it has me worried a little bit. i know we're all here to do a job. >> you're always scared. it is natural to be scared. >> reporter: over the past decade, the number of police officers shot and killed on duty has averaged 54 a year. including the most recent deaths, this year's number is below that, 49. but at the national law enforcement officers memorial in washington, chairman craig floyd cites a disturbing trend, the number of ambush killings is 12 so far this year, three times the average. >> there is a lot of anti-government, anti-cop sentiment now.
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who is the most visible and vulnerable symbol of government in this country? it is the law enforcement officer in uniform walking the streets of america. >> reporter: l.a.'s police chief said officers would wear black on their badges in honor of the officers killed in new york. a similar tribute in king county, washington. and back in pittsburgh, police are asking residents to put a blue light in the window to send a message. >> though it may seem like the community is against the police, there is so many people that love our officers. >> that was nbc's pete williams. and nbc learned officer ramos was scheduled to graduate from a volunteer lay chaplin training program hours after he was killed. with christmas just two days away, 'tis the season for the frenzy to travel. 175 million americans are in the path of a huge weather system. if you're traveling out of atlanta or chicago today, good luck. cloud cover could slow things up in other major airports in the
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northeast. as for christmas eve, every major hub city in the midwest and east could be affected by wind and heavy rain. but if you are one of the 1.1 million people hitting the roads, there is good news. unleaded gas averages $2.36 a gallon. as we head into christmas, pope francis is issuing some pretty seering critt tyke ining. he denounced spiritual alzheimer's, saying some of the higher ups are forgetting their true purpose. the comments came in the traditional christmas greeting. he also discussed what he calls the terrorism of gossip and criticized cliques within the catholic church. a baggage handler for delta airlines is facing charges for allegedly smuggling guns to new york. eugene harvey repeatedly brought guns into atlanta to pass them off to an accomplice who took them to new york. as an airport worker, harvey did not have to go through tsa
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screening. when he was arrested, he had 18 handguns on him. delta airlines says it is working with authorities in the investigation. after being shut down for hours, a couple of key north korean websites are back online this morning. the country typically has severely limited access to the internet but for much of yesterday it had absolutely none. tracie potts is live in washington with more. good morning to you, tracie. >> reporter: good morning. looks like a couple of the major government websites, primarily a lot of the information coming through north korea, are back up this morning. and the u.s. isn't confirming or denying we were involved. internet, which is always sketchy in north korea, was down for more than nine hours on monday, was it the u.s. making good on a promise to deal with whoever hacked sony pictures? the state department won't say. >> as we implement our responses, some will be seen, some may not be seen. >> reporter: the u.s. believes north korea was behind the sony
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attacks. north korea denies it, but says they are targeting the white house and pentagon. the u.s. says there is no credible information about that. meantime, one washington lawmaker is inviting sony to screen its postponed movie "the interview" at the u.s. capitol. >> we're not going to be deprived of seeing what is either a good or bad movie just because of threats from north korea. >> reporter: u.n. ambassadors' samantha powers cited the sony attack in a long list of human rights aabuses. >> silence will not make the north korean government end its abuses. silence will not make the international community safer. >> reporter: she's urging the united nations to refer north korea to the international criminal court. and new this morning, china says any suggestion that they were involved in the sony attack and the hacking of the systems at sony is irresponsible. dara? >> tracie potts reporting live from washington. thanks so much, tracie. anyone who has seen british
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singer joe cocker performs knows he really digs into his music with his hands and body contorted and sweat flying. cocker was a product of the british working class, a local favorite in pubs, who grew into a global and soulful legend. on monday, we learned he lost his battle with lung cancer at the age of 70. nbc's kate snow has a look back. ♪ what would you do if i sang out of tune ♪ >> reporter: the song we'll all remember most was a beatles cover at woodstock infused with the iconic voice. and the way he moved. those would become his trademarks, easy for a young john belushi to spoof on "saturday night live." ♪ what would you do cocker was a good sport, joining belushi on set in '76. by the '80s, a new generation would know him for the grammy winning anthem in "an officer and a gentleman." ♪ love lift us up where we belong ♪ >> reporter: and the song behind
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a steamy scene in the movie. his career was so much more than any one song. >> it is one of the simplest instruments around, really. >> reporter: inspired by the great late ray charles. >> he's taken some things he heard from me and put himself into it. >> reporter: just last year, his final tour in europe before going home to rural colorado. ♪ i will try not to sing out of tune ♪ >> reporter: paul mccartney said he would be forever grateful to joe cocker for turning a beatles hit into a soul anthem. ♪ you are so beautiful >> reporter: an unforgettable performer whose music lives on. kate snow, nbc news, new york. meteorologist domenica davis is here with what is in store for holiday travelers today. good morning, domenica. >> hi, dara.
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a lot of people sweating it out because they have flights or ground travel. it looks like the worst of our holiday travel is going to be off through the east coast and back right around the great lakes. to west, though, we do have some problems. not severe, but we do have a new system moving on that will create some rain from seattle down to portland. and then we're looking at some light to moderate snow showers in the northern rockies and also in the cascades. dry through southern california, san francisco looking at 65 today for a high. and more of the same for tomorrow with quiet weather down through southern california. that's a look at your nationalcy skies, high of only 29 degrees. that's a look at your local
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forecast. and your tuesday forecast, dara. >> thank you, domenica. a reminder that today is the last day you can get express shipping from u.p.s., fedex and the post office. ensuring your gifts are guaranteed to get there by christmas. and a rare sighting in arizona for this time of year. a black bear remains on the loose near phoenix. the elusive bear dodged traps by authority. not to fear, though. it is not believed to be a public safety threat. is a really big deal.u with aches, fever and chills- there's no such thing as a little flu. so why treat it like it's a little cold? there's something that works differently than over-the-counter remedies. attack the flu virus at its source with prescription tamiflu. and call your doctor right away. tamiflu is fda approved to treat the flu in people 2 weeks and older whose flu symptoms started within the last two days.
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before taking tamiflu tell your doctor if you're pregnant, nursing, have serious health conditions, or take other medicines. if you develop an allergic reaction, a severe rash, or signs of unusual behavior, stop taking tamiflu and call your doctor immediately. children and adolescents in particular may be at an increased risk of seizures, confusion or abnormal behavior. the most common side effects are mild to moderate nausea and vomiting. ask your doctor about tamiflu and attack the flu virus at its source. am i forgetting something? no holiday's complete without campbell's green bean casserole. wish you were here. ♪ [ doorbell ] [ gasps ] ♪ [ gong ] [ wisest kid ] m'm! m'm! good! ♪
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walgreens knows the holidays are full of surprises. that's why, whenever the need arises... walgreens is always right around the corner, so you can get in and out in no time. and help keep the magic in your holidays. at the corner of happy and healthy. most stores open christmas day. stories making news this morning, the man who opened fire on a texas meteorologist in a parking lot of our nbc affiliate last wednesday remains on the run this morning. the meteorologist, patrick crawford, is still recovering from gunshot wounds. but he is speaking out about his near fatal encounter with the shooter. >> the man that shot me didn't say many words to me, there was no interaction whatsoever, it
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was -- he just started shooting at me as i was leaving the parking lot. i did not know him. hopefully the description i gave the texas rangers and the police, hopefully that description is going to help to bring this person to justice for what he did and the crime that he committed. >> just when police thought they were about to nab a kentucky man for stealing a car with a baby inside, this happened. >> walk back towards me. backwards. because i said so! turn around and walk backwards! >> police eventually arrested him. his father and brother. they say the baby was found safe at a gas station hours after the car was stolen from a different gas station. let's get down to business with cnbc's landon dowdy. good morning, landon. >> good morning, dara. the dow is aiming at 18,000 today after the index closed at a new record high on monday. investors overlooking a big plunge in oil prices and a steep
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drop in home sales last month. the markets are still cheering the fed's decision last week to be patient on raising interest rates. natural gas prices are sliding to the lowest level in nearly two years. that's due to mild weather across the country. and more good news for consumers already enjoying the benefit of 30% drop in gasoline prices. half of the u.s. homes are using natural gas for heating. the first fully functional prototype of the driverless car. it features upgrades like headlights and upgrades to steering and brakes. google hopes to begin road tests in california next year. back to you. straight ahead, the top sports stories of 2014. first, in australia, mourners gathered to pay their respects to tory johnson. he's one of the victims of the deadly siege in a cafe last week. johnson was the 34-year-old manager of the lindt chocolate cafe. hundreds attended his memorial service at a church located just around the corner from the cafe.
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this morning on "today," find out why the faa is issuing a new warning for people getting drones under the christmas tree this year. right now though, monday night football. bengals/broncos, peyton manning rallied the broncos to three touchdowns and a lead in the third quarter, but that ended with a season-high four interceptions including a pick
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six in the fourth quarter. the bengals win it 37-28 and clinch a playoff berth. the inaugural miami bowl was a high scoring thriller. memphis topped byu 55-48 in double overtime. the tigers getting their first ten win season since 1938. then after the game though, a massive fight breaks out. benches clear. a full-on melee ensues. several punches were thrown, blood was drawn before refs and coaching staff could separate the players. to college hoops, unranked temple upset kansas. putting an end to the jayhawks eight-game winning streak. the final 77-52. san diego state senior dwayne foley collapsed on the court against uc riverside. after about 15 minutes foley left on a stretcher and was taken to the hospital. he appeared conscious as he left the building. the cause of the collapse is still unknown. and nfl domestic violence is ap sports story of the year.
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94 ballots were submitted to rank the top stories of 2014. in second, the banning of former clippers owner donald sterling followed by lebron james coming home. jason collins becoming the first openly gay athlete and the giants winning the world series. just ahead, new video surfaces of the late great robin williams lending a helping hand to his young co-star. plus, jimmy fallon gets into the holiday spirit with a little help from one direction. ♪ at panera bread, our hearty all-natural turkey chili is back in season. slow-cooked with turkey raised thout antibiotics, tart tomatillos, chilies, carrots, edamame and more. the savory spice of the chili pairs perfectly with the black bean hummus and the fresh crunch of napa cabbage blend in our southwestern chicken flatbread. and it all comes together in a you pick two made just for you. only at panera bread.
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choosing is half the fun.. because there's a little something delicious... for everyone. hershey's miniatures, choose your own delicious. is a really big deal.u with aches, fever and chills- there's no such thing as a little flu. so why treat it like it's a little cold? there's something that works differently than over-the-counter remedies. attack the flu virus at its source with prescription tamiflu. and call your doctor right away. tamiflu is fda approved to treat the flu in people 2 weeks and older whose flu symptoms started within the last two days. before taking tamiflu tell your doctor if you're pregnant, nursing, have serious health conditions, or take other medicines. if you develop an allergic reaction, a severe rash, or signs of unusual behavior, stop taking tamiflu and call your doctor immediately.
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children and adolescents in particular may be at an increased risk of seizures, confusion or abnormal behavior. the most common side effects are mild to moderate nausea and vomiting. ask your doctor about tamiflu and attack the flu virus at its source.
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all right. now for some entertainment news. today's secret word is netflix. pee wee herman will star, the man himself. it will be released on netflix. check out this video making the rounds showing the late robin williams working with the co-stars at "night of the museum." why? to get schuyler a date for his high school prom. >> schuyler's a nice jewish boy. >> and you're a nice jewish girl. >> they don't talk like that. >> no? >> yes. appreciate the effort. >> thank you. >> look at this. >> he's a good kid, good kisser. >> great kisser. >> i don't know that personally. >> i've heard. >> i've seen. >> seen? >> just -- >> when were you there? >> you know that time. you and the monkey. >> oh, too cute.
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without surprise, the girl said yes. and the couple went to the prom in a limo paid for by co-star ben stiller. they both chipped in. great job. last night on jimmy fallon one direction stopped by to spread some christmas cheer. ♪ santa claus is coming to town ♪ ♪ santa claus is coming to town ♪ ♪ better watch out you better not cry ♪ ♪ you better not pout i'm telling you why ♪ ♪ santa claus is coming to town ♪ ♪ santa claus is coming to town ♪ ♪ santa claus is coming to town ♪ >> certainly gets you in the mood. i'm dara brown. this is "early today." we hope it is just your first stop of the day on nbc. [ high-pitched ] nailed it! [ normal voice ] you're right, that was really easy.
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leading the news in "the new york times", colombia journalism school to scrutinize rolling stone rape article. they're asking the columbia j. school to review the editorial process and is promising to publish the report. as you know rolling stone faced criticism after discrepancy surfaced in a retracted article about a campus gang rape at the university of virginia. washington post, bang, the troubled legacy of toy guns. it looks at the evolution and how they are fading fast especially in the wake of the fatal shooting of 12-year-old tamir rice. police in manchester, england, say it is the biggest time of year for emergency calls. they release recordings of what they call irresponsible calls to try to cut down on bogus situations. you be the judge.
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>> i've been ripped off. >> you've been ripped off. in what way? >> yeah. i ordered a pizza 45 minutes ago and it's still not been delivered to me. now don't you wish though that you could sometimes get the police involved in this kind of situation. >> i've put some money in this vending machine and they're refusing to give me the money back and i need that money to make a call. >> and this one in the case of a lark lurking rodent. >> a hedge hog? >> yes. >> and it's dead? >> no, it's not dead. it's live. >> well, that's where the hedgehogs live in garden. what do you want us to do about it? the hedge hogs are good for your garden, they kill your slugs. >> yeah, but we don't want our slugs to get killed. we want to say happy belated birthday to kolo the gorilla celebrating with a cake made out of peanut butter, yogurt, applesauce and more. what, no bananas?
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she's the first gorilla born in a zoo. she has three children, 16 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and is the oldest living gorilla in any zoo in the world. talk about living a full life. that's a lot of gorillas around. >> she had time to eat all that. >> and only 58. now time for a look ahead. get out your festivus poles, everybody. it is a festivus for the rest of us. the holiday made popular by seinfeld as an alternative to christmas. >> the tradition of festivus begins with the airing of grievances. i've got a lot of problems with you people! now you're going to hear about them. >> well, the seinfeld holiday ends with the feast of strength. also want to say happy birthday to eddie vetter who is 50 today. jim harbaugh turns 51 and susan lucci is 68. i'm dara brown. thanks for watching "early today." hope you have a terrific
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